Written by Erica Batchelor
One of the first articles I ever wrote for Pop-Break was a review of Slightly Stoopid’s 2012 release Top of the World and to my good fortune, I recently snagged an opportunity to chat with Ryan Moran a.k.a. RyMo.
The band has been a part of my music library for several years now and with each new album I’m reminded why I keep coming back. Slightly Stoopid is known for their advocacy of marijuana, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll realize there is more to this group of “pot heads”. Defined by a heavy tour schedule, it comes as no surprise to see a jam packed summer for these guys considering they are a hard working band.
Making music is simple but turning that into a successful lifelong career is grueling work. The band established themselves in the late 90’s and has continued to prove that they’re not going anywhere any time soon.
RyMo was whole-heartedly, down to earth and eager to talk about everything from their summer tour, to the release of Live at TRI Studio’s, and also share a peek at the future of Slightly Stoopid. Check out my interview below…
Pop-Break: The 2013 “Kickin’ Up Dust” summer tour has come to a close. What was your best memory?
RyMo: Honestly, my best memory is just hanging out all the time. Tribal Seeds, The Grouch & Eligh, and Atmosphere are all just really cool dudes. That’s probably my favorite. I can’t pinpoint one exact moment. The whole tour has kind of been a camaraderie— all the bands on the road together. When you’re out here working and away from home it’s nice to have good vibes between the bands.
PB: With such an extensive career, do you have a process for creating your set lists?
RyMo: We pick out of a pool of songs. We try to mix the order up, but we try to play a handful of tunes that people like from the whole span of our career. We obviously try to play a bunch of stuff from the newest album Top of the World, which we dropped last August. We try to take a little bit from each album and make the playlist on that. People that are only familiar with the brand new stuff can hear all of this other stuff live and vice versa.
PB: Slightly Stoopid has been categorized as everything under the sun. How would you describe your genre?
RyMo: I would say it’s pretty diverse. We definitely came from the roots of reggae, punk, rock, and ska. Sublime shaped the career of the band in a huge way and gave the band an opportunity. We’ve listened to a lot of different styles of music over the years and it gave us a chance to grow, and time to learn different things. We incorporate different styles to make it a big pot of soup. I don’t know how exactly to categorize it. It depends on how general you want it to be really. I would call it reggae, punk, rock, and some ska. To me, it’s about having a good time playing live shows and entertaining the crowd.
PB: Live from TRI Studios came out a few months back. What was that whole experience like?
RyMo: Huge for us. A lot of us grew up listening to the Grateful Dead and being fans of Bob Weir, it was really an honor. We got to play with him and he actually interviewed the band! The whole experience was really great. Oddly enough it was in my hometown, San Rafael, California, so for me it had a little extra meaning. Growing up and being a huge fan of that music and being able to play with Bob in my hometown with a couple friends was just really incredible.
PB: When did you realize you wanted to make music and touring your career?
RyMo: Probably when I was about 10 years old. I was watching MTV when they would still play music videos and I was just inspired by rock and hip hop bands and all different types of music. You can actually see and hear the music at the same time—that was something that was really cool.
PB: Since the launch of your own record label, Stoopid Records, do you see yourselves as mentors for young musicians? Do you have any advice or wisdom for new artists?
RyMo: We try to pass the torch in a way. Bradley Nowell (Sublime) passed the torch on to Miles and Kyle and now it’s their turn to return the favor. We try to work with artists that we like that are out on the road working and touring. Nowadays, people aren’t really buying CD’s or records as much as they are listening via the internet. We try to give an opportunity to artists who get out and work for it.
PB: Since you brought it up, how do you feel about file sharing vs. selling physical albums?
RyMo: It’s not ever going to go away and it’s not ever going to change. It’s not really something that’s affected us badly. We’ve just always been a band that is based on touring. We tour for most of the year. For bands that are based on selling millions and millions of records, it totally changed their income level, but it never really affected us. If you’re going to give our song to 50 people, that’s cool because then maybe 20 of them come to the next show.
PB: What are some of your interests outside of touring?
RyMo: Touring is my job. Everyone has their own hobbies outside of this. A lot of us are pretty active. I like to surf and I do almost every day when I’m home. I think all the guys live pretty active lifestyles. Kyle surfs a lot, DeLa surfs a lot, OG does yoga… if we’re not making music.
PB: It’s been a year since the release of Top of the World, what can we look forward to in the future from Slightly Stoopid?
RyMo: Well, TRI just came out and we’re going to be working on a new record at the end of the year. With Top of the World, we did it all in house. We’ve got our own studio and we took our time. We didn’t rush it.